Family Understanding

This month DH and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a getaway.  Dh’s parents flew in from Florida to take G to school.  We’d created a notebook of G’s morning and afternoon routines, notified the school of potential difficulties and prepped G for the visit.  MIL is very good about following our instructions but she doesn’t fully get it.  She tends to make comments about G’s time being too structured, being expected to do too much on his own, having too much homework, going to bed too early without any downtime.  She’d really rather let him do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, doing whatever she can for him so he doesn’t have to lift a finger.  Basic grandmother spoiling, but with a kid on the spectrum it can seriously set us back.  However, I get a vacation out of it so as long as she follows the instructions we leave, I try to grin and bear it. 

This visit was an interesting one because the BOCES had invited a guest lecturer to talk about educating kids with ASD, particularly HFA and Asperger Syndrome.  It was the same day DH and I were leaving on our trip, but we were able to attend the first half, which was a broad overview of how autism can manifest in students.  What was really cool is that my in-laws attended with us and a lot of the information was particularly pertinent to G. 

Prior to this conference, we’d been getting some subtle pressure to move closer to MIL, who left our state in the past year to move to back to Florida.  She mentioned her friends telling her about some great charter schools in her area.  When I asked about how these schools accommodated kids on the spectrum, the idea that she’d need to ask about that had never occurred to her.  There wasn’t any real understanding that G needed special services, she never argued that he has autism but she didn’t really accept it either.  She also didn’t understand that we were in a magical school system for G and simply finding a similar setup in a state closer to her wasn’t a viable option.  As the interventions and options for educating students like G were discussed, and as she started to meet all of G’s teachers who were specifically attending this conference to learn how to help G, she started to understand.  We live in a motivated and progressive town of educators that really want all students to reach their full potential and are fully supported by their administration.  How often does this all come together?

But another really fascinating thing came out of this conference.  DH has a brother that we’ve suspected of being on the spectrum from the first day the possibility was raised regarding G.  Everything we learned as we researched G rang similar bells about his brother.  But DH’s family wasn’t open to that possibility so DH’s attempts to talk about it never got anywhere.  As my MIL absorbed the information presented during the overview session and read my library of books throughout the week, she started wondering if BIL, who has seen several mental-health type professionals and has gotten a variety of labels over the years, had in fact been mis-diagnosed.  She even commented on how she can see how some of the skills we’re trying to teach G, the same skills she thought we were pushing when she leaned toward babying, would have helped her son when he was a child.  It’s way to early to make predictions, but it will be interesting to see how this all pans out.  I think we’ve sewn the seeds of genuine understanding.

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Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 11:20 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for sharing! I have chills after reading it in hope and excitement for your family. Each step forward is a triumph and worthy of a self-pat. Sending hopes that now you may have a more understanding MIL sitter so you can take more trips knowing the routine will remain in place.


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